Rebels v Crusaders: Teams

At AAAMI Park, Saturday May 12, Kick-off: 10.40 BST, Watch live online on Sky Sports Extra

Last updated: 11th May 2012  

Rebels v Crusaders: Teams

Richie McCaw: Makes his first start of the season

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Michael Lipman returns to the Rebels side to face the Crusaders on Saturday after recovering from a back injury.

The former England international will be charged with keeping the lid on Crusaders skipper Richie McCaw, who makes his first start of the season.

With flanker Luke Jones suspended, Tim Davidson switches to the blindside to allow Lipman to slot into the number seven jersey.

Melbourne will be without the versatile Richard Kingi, who has been ruled out by a hamstring strain.

The loss of Kingi will come as a big blow for Damien Hill's men after establishing himself as one of the Rebels' top attacking weapons this season.

Julian Huxley comes in at full-back to the replace 23-year-old in the only other change to the starting XV that came up just short against the Bulls last time out.

Break

McCaw, who has featured on the Crusaders bench in the last two games, is finally ready to start and replaces Matt Todd at openside flank.

Stand-in skipper Keiran Read has been replaced by rookie Luke Whitelock in one of five changes to the starting line-up that beat the Reds 15-11 in Christchurch last Sunday.

Read, who has played all ten of the Crusaders' fixtures this season, will take his place on the bench as coach Todd Blackadder looks to give the in-form number eight a break.

Prop Wyatt Crockett, lock Sam Whitelock, scrum-half Willie Heinz and full-back Tom Marshall have also been selected to start against the Rebels.

Ben Franks, Tom Donnelly, Andy Ellis and Israel Dagg have all been demoted to the bench.

Rebels: 15 Julian Huxley, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (C), 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Tim Davidson, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Rodney Blake, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Jono Owen, 18 Al Campbell, 19 Ryan Hodson, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Stirling Mortlock.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Ryan Crotty, 22 Israel Dagg.

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